MLB Odds, Picks and Predictions: Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers (Saturday, Sept. 19)

MLB Odds, Picks and Predictions: Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers (Saturday, Sept. 19) article feature image
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Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Spencer Turnbull

Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers Odds

Indians Odds -195 [Bet Now]
Tigers Odds +163 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8 (-108/-113) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 6:10 p.m. ET

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After losing eight straight coming into the series with the Tigers, the Indians now have won back-to-back games and will go for a series win on Saturday.

They will send their young prospect Triston Mackenzie to the mound in hopes he can keep the momentum going against Spencer Turnbull and the Tigers.


Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.


Cleveland Indians

Cleveland’s offense has been awful this season, checking in with a .302 wOBA and 85 wRC+. In fact, Jose Ramirez is the only Indian with a wOBA over .350. The rest of Cleveland’s lineup will need to pick up the slack if the Tribe are going to make a run in the postseason.

The Indians have particularly struggled against right-handed pitchers, posting a .228 batting average and a .306 wOBA against righties this season.

Indians Probable Starter

Triston McKenzie, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

McKenzie has a fine three-pitch mix that starts with a 91-95 MPH fastball that is very effective due to his command of it. His curveball also been graded by scouts as plus pitch with good movement.

As promising as his stuff is, McKenzie also has a tremendous feel for pitching. He’s still growing into his super-skinny frame, but is able to repeat his delivery well and fill up the zone with strikes.

He’s been impressive through his first 25.1 innings in the big leagues, posting a 3.42 xFIP. However, he’s vastly outplaying his projections, so I expect McKenzie to come back down to earth at some point.

Detroit Tigers 

Detroit’s offense, which ranks 24th in wOBA, has been especially bad over the past two weeks, accumulating a .268 wOBA and 64 wRC+.

The Tigers have been somewhat one-dimensional this season, as they are crushing fastballs (15.7 weighted fastball runs) but are struggling against every other pitch type. McKenzie throws his fastball more than any other pitch, so the Tigers will need to make those opportunities count.

Tiger Probable Starter

Spencer Turnbull, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Spencer Turnbull has been real bright spot for the Tigers this year. He’s posted a 3.94 ERA through nine starts and all of his metrics are really positive. The only thing he’s struggling with is location. He has a 5.32 BB/9 rate, which is the root of his xFIP ticking up to 4.88.

Turnbull has a four-pitch arsenal that he uses pretty effectively to navigate through lineups. His fastball is the definition of average, allowing a .319 wOBA this year. His slider is pretty effective, yielding only a .132 batting average and producing a 43.6% whiff rate this season.

He should have no trouble navigating this Indians lineup thats ranks in the bottom six of MLB against fastballs and sliders.

Bullpens

Cleveland’s bullpen has been solid all season long, posting a 4.37 xFIP, which ranks 10th in the MLB. Detroit’s bullpen has been below average this season, ranking in the bottom half of MLB, with a 5.24 ERA and 4.79 xFIP.

Projections and Pick

I think the pitching matchup in this game is a lot more even than most people think. Additionally, given how poor the Indians offense has been this season, I don’t think they should be -185 favorites on the road.

I am going to back the Tigers at +163 and would bet it up to +142.

Pick: Tigers +163

[Bet the Tigers at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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